Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News Sunday(08/15/2021) to discuss the ongoing crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, following the decision by the Biden administration to withdraw U.S. troops from the country. Pompeo, who naturally was intent on slamming the Biden administration for the chaos in Afghanistan, was however confronted with his own record as Secretary of State, specifically, his role in legitimizing the Taliban, and forcing the Afghan government to release Taliban fighters from prison.
Pompeo’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below
Host Chris Wallace’s question to Pompeo: “You are the first American Secretary of State to ever meet with the Taliban, and you talked about how they had agreed to join us in the fight against terrorism…Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret pressuring the Afghan government to release five thousand prisoners, which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban?”
Pompeo responded that even though he enlisted Taliban forces in our fight against terrorism, specifically Al-Qaeda, he has never trusted them. He specifically said, “We never trusted the Taliban…We made abundantly clear if they did not live up to that peace of paper[deal], to the words that they had put on the ground, we weren’t going to allow them to just walk away from any deal that they had struck. We were going to crush them…We didn’t take the word of the Taliban. We watched their actions on the ground. When they did the right thing and they helped us against terror, that was all good, and when they didn’t, we crushed them.”
Pompeo’s response is shaky on several grounds, chief among them, the fact that it dodges the million dollar question at hand, and that is, whether the Taliban fighters he forced the Afghan government to release, are the same fighters now running over the country. Reasonable people will agree that some of the Taliban prisoners freed as a result of pressure from then Secretary Pompeo, are the same fighters now causing all the chaos in the country.
Bottom line folks, the operating principle has been, and still is, that in all our military engagements, the buck always stops with the sitting Commander-in-Chief, in this case, President Biden. Republicans have every right to lay the blame on the Biden administration for the chaos currently unfolding in Afghanistan. It is totally disingenuous however, for Pompeo and others in former President Trump’s cabinet, to act like they had nothing to do with the current mess in Afghanistan. Reasonable people will agree that some of the five thousand Taliban prisoners Pompeo pressured the Afghan government to release, are the same Taliban fighters now running over the country. Simply put Mike Pompeo, you have a hand in the Afghan mess!!
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